Have Picky Eaters? We Can Help!
Having a picky eater in your family can be exhausting! ONIE has 10 tips to get your picky eater to stop the battle at mealtime and try something new.
Trust your child’s hunger and fullness cues - try not to force the ‘clean your plate’ rule. Your child will be alright if they don’t eat everything they are served, and you can save any leftovers for the next day!
If your child pushes away their meal with a frown, instead of asking, “Why don’t you like it?” try asking, “How can I make that better for you?” Cooking with new ingredients might be enough to ruin the meal for a picky eater. It’s okay to allow your child to move food they don’t like to the side of the plate, or to give them the chance to add an ingredient of their choice to their plate. This small adjustment may make all the difference!
Try turning off items that can cause distractions or loud noises (like TVs and cell phones) - help your child focused on the food by keeping the mealtime atmosphere calm.
Hiding veggies in meals can be helpful when first introducing them to your child (like adding cauliflower or bell peppers to mashed potatoes), but try not to hide them all the time. Instead, encourage your child to try new foods at least once before they say no thank you.
Mix up cooking methods. If your child doesn’t like raw broccoli, they may like it steamed! It takes up to 15-20 times of trying a new food for a child to like it – patience is key.
Go to the grocery store with your child and let them pick out a new fruit and/or veggie! Kids may be more likely to try new foods they choose.
Let your child pick a healthy recipe once a week. This is a great way to engage your child and discover healthy ingredients your child loves that can be used in other meals.
Be a good role model. Children are watching to learn how they should behave. If you aren’t serving yourself any fruits or veggies with lunch, odds are, they won’t want any either!
Having a picky eater in the house is common, but don’t let it get you down! These tips and tricks will help your child try more healthy foods and make meal time a happier experience for the whole family! For more recipe ideas the whole family will love click here.
The ONIE Project
- Ong C, Phuah K, Salazar E, How C. Managing the ’picky eater’ dilemma. Singapore Med J. 2014; 55(4):184-190.
- Rosenbloom C. End mealtime battles with one question. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/eating-as-a-family/end-mealtime-battles-with-one-question. Accessed August 25, 2017.
- Hayes D. Coping with picky eating phases. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/coping-with-picky-eating-phases. Accessed August 25, 2017.